'Take Myanmar to UN court for crimes against humanity’


Bangladesh’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) called on the international community on Tuesday to take the government of neighboring Myanmar to the UN Court of Justice for committing crimes against humanity in Rakhine state.

“We urged the OIC and the ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] member states and UN organs to consider referring the matter [of persecution of Rohingya Muslims] to the International Court of Justice or the International Human Court,” commission head Kazi Reazul Hoque said at the International Ombudsman Conference in Istanbul.

He also called on the UN Human Rights Commission and the international community “to mobilize political pressure on Myanmar’s government to find a durable solution” to the Rohingya crisis.

“The durable solution must include the right to return to their homelands in a safe, secure and dignified way,” Hoque added.

“All fundamental rights of the Rohingya should be respected in the process of resolving the current crisis.”

Hoque, who led a four-member delegation on an emergency fact-finding mission on Sept. 9-11, interviewed several Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh, and reported horror stories of cruelty and shocking tales of brutality, including serious injuries from bullets, burning, and physical torture.

“All these atrocities are carried out by the Myanmar military…This is an extreme violation of human rights, these are crimes against humanity,” he mentioned.

“Crimes against humanity are only possible when racism, xenophobia, and hate speech are practiced in extremely high degrees.”

Traumatized

The fact-finding body also found that most refugees, particularly women and children, are traumatized, according to Hoque.

“They have gone emotionless, they are concerned more about safety rather than food.”

He underlined the pervasive discrimination in Rakhine state, saying, “It is clear that Rohingya are severely subjected to religious discrimination.”

The commission has also sent out a call for action to many international, regional, and local entities, including UN agencies, ASEAN’s Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and diplomatic missions in capital Dhaka which directly or indirectly have a stake in the issue.

“It is the unequivocal responsibility of the government of Myanmar to ensure the protection of Rohingya living in Rakhine regardless of their religion, ethnicity, or citizenship status," he said, urging an immediate end to the violence and unhindered access to humanitarian aid.

Hoque said Bangladesh is hosting “around one million Rohingya" refugees, including the arrivals since Aug. 25, and the country is trying to handle the situation despite being a “lower-middle income and densely populated country”.

Despite these difficulties, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave them shelter and committed to extend all basic necessities for them, he added.

He also urged emergency humanitarian assistance for Rohingya living in refugee camps in Bangladesh.

Fleeing violence

Since Aug. 25, more than 436,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN's migration agency’s latest report on Monday.

The refugees are fleeing a fresh security operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages. According to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.

Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan highlighted the issue at this year's UN General Assembly.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

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(c) 2017 Anadolu Agency

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